SDS Mailbag: SEC realignment, Media Days rankings and what happens to the Big 12?
SEC Media Days are over and done, another year of talkin’ season in the books. And what a week it was in Hoover, with plenty of storylines. Yes, there was still talk about vaccinations and the COVID-19 pandemic, but it isn’t dominating headlines like it was this time last year (especially since it forced Media Days to be canceled).
This time around, there was the big news about Texas and Oklahoma potentially joining the SEC. There were also plenty of questions about the new NIL laws.
Then, we finally got around to some on-the-field stuff. The 2021 season is a few short weeks away. Yes, there are still a couple of dead weeks left to go, but then fall camps will start up.
It’s an exciting time in the college football world, so without further ado, let’s dive into your questions for this week’s SDS Mailbag:
How would you realign the SEC East and West if Texas and Oklahoma join the league?
When Missouri and Texas A&M joined the SEC in 2012, the league put the Tigers in the East and the Aggies in the West. A&M being in the West makes sense. Mizzou being in the East … well, that takes a little more imagination.
But, I don’t see the SEC doing that this time around. It won’t be as easy as plopping Oklahoma in the East and Texas in the West. No, if I had to choose, I’d put them both in the West. Then, you move Alabama and Auburn to the East (sorry, other East teams). Finally, you flip Mizzou to the West to even things out at 8 teams per division.
Under this plan, expanding to 9 conference games (and perhaps even 10 conference games) is an absolute must.
However, I’ve also seen a pod system proposed. It would look like this:
SEC Network, the league’s own TV channel, has some ideas. pic.twitter.com/MSnth9IYMM
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 22, 2021
I’m not sure how I feel about that. I think I’d prefer keeping the 2 divisions, but I’ll have to think on it some more. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem that the Longhorns and Sooners would be able to join the SEC for at least a couple of years, so I have time to consider all the options!
What should the other 8 Big 12 teams do if Texas and Oklahoma leave for the SEC?
In all seriousness, the Longhorns and Sooners bolting for the SEC would be a disaster for Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU and West Virginia. Of all of those schools, West Virginia might be in the best position, as the Mountaineers could potentially join the ACC (assuming the other conferences want to expand to keep up with the SEC, too).
Kansas basketball should have plenty of suitors, as should Baylor and Texas Tech hoops. But, beyond that, I’m not sure there’s much of a space for anyone else. Iowa would fight Iowa State being added to the Big Ten like Texas A&M is fighting Texas. A&M certainly wouldn’t want any of the other Texas schools added to the SEC.
It doesn’t really make sense for the Pac-12 to add any of those remaining Big 12 schools. The remaining schools would probably need to try to add some new teams to the current Big 12, but what teams would draw eyes? Sure, you could try to add Houston, Boise State, BYU and others, but even if you got all 3 of those teams, is that a Power 5-worthy conference? I’m not sure.
This is a scary time for the 8 Big 12 programs that might get left out in the dust.
Which coach was the best interview at SEC Media Days?
I’m obviously biased toward Mizzou’s Eli Drinkwitz, but by even the most unbiased accounts, Drinkwitz was awesome at Media Days. He had jokes, he spoke eloquently on complicated topics and he didn’t take himself too seriously.
Here’s how I ranked the 14 coaches’ performances:
Ranking the SEC head coaches by Media Days performances:
1. Eli Drinkwitz
2. Lane Kiffin
3. Shane Beamer
4. Dan Mullen
5. Nick Saban
6. Jimbo Fisher
7. Kirby Smart
8. Mike Leach
9. Sam Pittman
10. Mark Stoops
11. Josh Heupel
12. Clark Lea
13. Bryan Harsin
14. Coach O
— Adam Spencer (@AdamSpencer4) July 22, 2021
If you want to put Shane Beamer at No. 1, I won’t fault you. He killed it. So did Lane Kiffin. If you want to put Bryan Harsin at No. 1, I would definitely take issue with that. Mr. Coachspeak couldn’t get off that stage fast enough. He literally filibustered and only took 3 questions from reporters.
Before y’all jump into my mentions, I understand it is only talkin’ season. But since there are no games scheduled for this weekend (last time I checked), it’s fun to put together some opinionated rankings and have conversations about them.
Either way, Drinkwitz has been nothing but fun since taking over the Mizzou program.
After winning the NBA title, Giannis Antetokounmpo went to Chick-fil-A and ordered 50 nuggets and a Sprite with lemonade. How many nuggets do you think you could eat in one sitting? And what would be your go-to combo soda fountain drink?
Oh man, one time in college, I tried to split a 50-piece McNuggets order with one of my roommates (it was a promotion for the Olympics or something). I remember struggling to make it through the 25 I was supposed to eat.
I think I’d top out at 30 nuggets on my best eating day. No way I could finish all 50. The Sprite/lemonade combo sounds pretty tasty, but I think I’d rather go with a Sprite/orange soda combo.
When I was younger, I was one of the kids who would get a cup and then put a little bit of each soda in it. I thought it was pretty good back then, but I’m not sure I’d still like it. I’ll stick with the Sprite/orange soda combo, thank you very much.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.